January 26, 2024
• The Raiders kept to close, but the Rockets held off their rivals for the win.
It had been seventeen days since the last victory for the Needham Boys Basketball team, but on a Friday night at the NHS A Gym, the Rockets topped Wellesley 55-48, snapping a three game losing streak. The last win for Needham came on January 9th, a 61-53 win at Walpole, as they had fallen at North Andover and Natick as well as at home to Newton North. The Tigers and Rockets were scheduled for a rematch on Tuesday, January 23rd, but the game was postponed due to the Newton Teachers Strike.
Early on against Wellesley, the Rockets offense shined, with Senior Brian Cloonan hitting a three pointer, as did Senior Devin Dellamarggio, who also hit three free throws. Later in the quarter, Cloonan dished out a pass to Senior Chris Morrison, who also hit from beyond the arc. Morrison would return the favor to Cloonan on a two point basket, who finished with seven points in the first eight minutes, while Dellamarggio had eight. The Rockets took a 20-7 lead to the second quarter, shooting 3-of-6 from three point range.
The Raiders responded with a 9-0 run in the second quarter and outscored the Rockets 14-7, pulling to within six, 27-21, at halftime. Junior Spencer Briggs has nine points at the break for Wellesley, while Senior Brady Stevens had eight. Dellamarggio led all scorers with ten.
Stevens got Wellesley going in the third, scoring eleven more points as the Raiders narrowly outscored the Rockets in the third, 18-17, making it a five point game, 44-39, heading to the fourth quarter. Needham was called on an intentional foul at the end of the third, which allowed the Raiders to inch closer, at the free throw line, a place the Rockets struggled from, other than Dellamarggio that is.
Devin had a busy night from the charity stripe, hitting a perfect 11-11. As a team, Needham was 19-26, though without Dellamarggio they were just 8-15. Wellesley kept it close throughout the fourth quarter, pulling to 46-43 with 4:32 to go, then 48-46 with 1:40 left after Stevens scored. The Wellesley captain finished with a game high 23 points, but it wouldn’t be enough.
That’s because Dellamarggio came up with a huge hoop, then took a charge at the other end of the floor. With 49.4 to go, Needham led 50-46 and clinched the game at the line. Not only did Dellamarggio go 11-11, finishing with a team high 20 points, but Cloonan also was 3-4, good for 16 points. Junior Jeremy Gould was a perfect 3-3 from the line, giving him seven points total.
Although they didn’t shoot as many free throws as Needham, Wellesley had a decent night, hitting 12-16. Stevens was 5-7 and Briggs was 4-5. The Rockets struggled from long distance against the Raiders, as after going 4-10 from three point range at one point in the third quarter, but didn’t hit another, finishing 4-14.
The win was a much needed turnaround for the Rockets, who improved to 7-4 on the season, while Wellesley fell to 4-8. Up next for Needham, they will head to Milton on Tuesday, January 30th. Wellesley will host Braintree that same night.
Here are highlights from our live broadcast of the game, with announcers Kristen Connors, Bill Dermody and Ben Gilman:
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